> I think that being forced to learn by ear gives a
> different approach to the music.
It does indeed. I had always learned music from the dots -- it was the only
way I had ever known. When I took my first Irish fiddle lesson, my teacher
(who reads the dots but prefers not to) told me, "This is an aural tradition,
so throw away your book and learn by ear." I said, "Okay." (see, Scott, I
was willing to try!)
And "a different approach" is an understatement; the first time I learned a
tune by ear, it changed me forever. I can't get enough of the music, and
practicing is sheer joy. I still read the dots, and I have more books than
ever. But the music I hear in my head is so much sweeter!